"American democracy is founded on our commitment to a contest of ideas, not violence. Political disagreement and dissent must never violate our nation's values, as expressed in the Constitution, of free expression, speech, and peaceful assembly."
Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.,, said that in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting, now is the time for elected officials "to reflect on the heightened anger being projected in our public debate and the daily denigration of those with whom we disagree."
"It is appropriate that the wrenching, shocking, senseless violence of that day compel us all to reflect on our own responsibility to temper our words and respect those with whom we disagree, lest the failure to do so give incitement to the angriest and most unstable among us," Hoyer said.
"Let us speak for our neighbors in a new spirit of unity. Not a false or shallow unity, not a unity that wishes away our differences or our discords, but a unity founded on our reverence for our democracy's most precious, most fragile gift: its power to resolve without violence our weightiest questions.
There were a number of other events on the House schedule today related to the Giffords shooting.
Earlier this morning, shortly after 9 o'clock Pelosi signed the Book of Condolences and the Book of Well Wishes in the Cannon Rotunda. Pelosi took her time writing her messages and, although her pen appeared to repeatedly run out of ink, she wrote about a full page in each book.
The House Democratic leader will soon head to Andrews Air Force Base to catch a flight aboard Air Force One with President Obama to head to a memorial service in Tucson. Members of the Arizona congressional delegation are also expected to travel with the president on the cross-country flight.
Earlier today, the House Republican Conference met to receive a security briefing in the wake of Saturday's massacre. There were at least three briefers: House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood, U.S Capitol Police Chief Phil Morse and Dan Strodel, the chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives. The House Democratic Caucus also will receive its own security briefing today.
At 12:30 p.m., members of Congress may begin signing members-only books of Condolences and Well Wishes in the Capitol Visitors Center.
At 1:00 p.m., members of Congress are invited to a bipartisan prayer service in the center auditorium. The service is closed to the media.
Boehner will attend the bipartisan prayer service in the Center. Before the prayer service begins, Boehner is expected, possibly along with other House leaders, to sign the condolence books in the center.
Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor worked with the House Democratic leadership to delay all other scheduled legislative business, including the GOP's efforts to repeal the health care overhaul law.